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An automated rapid classification of the transient events detected in modern synoptic sky surveys is essential for their scientific utility and effective follow-up when resources are scarce. This problem will grow by orders of magnitude with the next generation of surveys. We are exploring a variety of novel automated classification techniques, mostly Bayesian, to respond to those challenges, using the ongoing CRTS sky survey as a testbed. We describe briefly some of the methods used.
We report the first large-scale serosurvey for West Nile virus (WNV) conducted in the equine population in Iran. Blood samples were obtained in 2008–2009 from 1054 equines collected from 260 districts located in 27 provinces. The overall seroprevalence rate for WNV neutralizing antibodies was 23·7%. Marked geographical variations were observed as province-specific seroprevalence rates ranged from 1% to 88%, the highest values being observed in the southern and western parts of the country. The presence of IgM-positive animals (n=9) indicated a recent circulation of WNV in several provinces. Logistic modelling confirmed this result with a significant effect of age on seropositivity. This study revealed extensive circulation of WNV in Iran particularly in southwestern provinces where the virus probably circulates every year.
Unlike civilian post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the efficacy of sertraline for the treatment of combat-related PTSD has not yet been proven. The present study aimed to evaluate the clinical efficacy of sertraline against combat-related PTSD in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Seventy Iranian veterans of the Iran–Iraq war who met the DSM-IV criteria for diagnosis of PTSD were randomized to receive either flexibly dosed sertraline (50–200 mg/day) (n=35, completers=32) or placebo (n=35, completers=30) for 10 weeks. Efficacy was evaluated by the Impact of Event Scale – Revised (IES-R) and the Clinical Global Impression scale – Severity (CGI-S) and Improvement (CGI-I) ratings. Responder criteria were defined as a ⩾30% reduction in the IES-R total score plus a CGI-I rating of ‘much’ or ‘very much’ improved.
On both intention-to-treat (ITT) and per protocol (completer) methods of analysis, the mean reductions in the IES-R total and subscale (re-experiencing/intrusion, avoidance/numbing and hyperarousal) scores (p<0.001) and also in the CGI-S score (p<0.01) were significantly greater in the sertraline group than in the placebo group. For the CGI-I, the mean endpoint score was significantly lower in the sertraline group than in the placebo group (p⩽0.001). The number of responders in the sertraline group was significantly higher than in the placebo group (44% v. 3%, p⩽0.001). Sertraline was well tolerated, with a 6% discontinuation rate as a result of adverse reactions.
The results of this study suggest that sertraline can be an effective, safe and tolerable treatment for combat-related PTSD in Iranian veterans.
Synoptic sky surveys are opening up exciting opportunities in time domain astronomy. Gaia
will make a great contribution to this field. A crucial factor for good scientific returns
is real-time classification of transients, in order to optimize their follow-up. We have
been developing infrastructure towards this end starting from the completed Palomar-Quest
(PQ) survey, and the ongoing Catalina Real-Time Transient Survey (CRTS). CRTS has been
consistently producing transients for almost three years now. We describe here the efforts
related to transient classification and event dissemination. Many of the technologies and
methodologies we are developing may benefit Gaia.
Atomic positional disorder of a single-phase natural carbonate fluorapatite (francolite) is revealed from analysis of the atomic displacement parameters (ADPs) refined from neutron powder diffraction data as a function of temperature and carbonate content. The ADPs of the francolite show a strong disturbance at the P, O3, and F sites. When it is heat treated to partially or completely remove the carbonate, the ADPs as well as the other structural parameters resemble those of a fluorapatite (Harding pegmatite) that was measured under the same conditions. The various structural changes are consistent with a substitution mechanism whereby the planar carbonate group replaces a phosphate group and lies on the mirror plane of the apatite structure.
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